Byzantine compound uncovered in Bet Shemesh, likely a monastery
The Israel Antiquities Authority(IAA) has announced in a press release that a large and well-preserved compound from the Byzantine period has been uncovered in the hills south of Bet Shemesh, Israel. According to archaeologist Irina Zilberbod, who is associated with the IAA, the site was most probably a monastery. An outer wall envelops the compound, the interior of which is divided into two regions: an industrial area and a residential area. The industrial area includes an unusually large olive oil press and a winepress that is also of considerable size. Their size suggests that the local community produced olive oil and wine for commercial purposes and not simply for domestic use. In the residential area, colorful mosaics were found.